China announced today the establishment of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP).
"The establishment of the bureau is a major step taken by the Chinese government to further promote corruption prevention," said bureau head Ma Wen at a press conference.
Ma, who is also Minister of Supervision, said the bureau would focus on supervising and regulating the use of power and adopt effective measures to prevent the abuse of power.
She said the bureau would study ways to cut off corruption at the roots, constantly improve corruption prevention systems, push for the sound operation of these systems, and coordinate the corruption prevention efforts of various departments.
The new bureau will report directly to the State Council.
"The bureau won't step in the investigation of individual cases as it doesn't have the power," said Qu Wanxiang, deputy head of the bureau.
Qu said the bureau has been assigned the task of pushing forward transparency of government information at various levels, which he said is the way to "prevent corruption at its root.”
The NBCP will also evaluate loopholes in new policies that may give rise to corruption and study countermeasures, and push for sharing information among the prosecutors, police, banks, and courts and the NBCP.
"The NBCP staff will collect and analyze information from sectors including banks, land use, medicine, and telecommunications and share it with other departments," Qu said.
He said this is an important basic job for finding and exposing corruption as early as possible, a deterrent to corruption activities, and an effective way to prevent corruption.
The bureau is also tasked to inspect corruption prevention work at various levels, conduct pilot projects, and develop a set of standards to judge whether a department or an official is clean.
Qu said the bureau will guide the anti-corruption work in companies, public undertakings, and non-governmental organizations, help trade associations to establish self-discipline systems and mechanisms, prevent commercial bribes, and extend corruption prevention work to rural organizations as well as urban communities.
"Corruption not only happens among civil servants in government departments, but also among employees in private sectors and other organizations," he said.
The bureau will also engage in international cooperation and international aid in corruption prevention, according to Qu.
The bureau will, under the framework of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, offer help to developing countries on corruption prevention and work to win technical support and other help from foreign countries and international organizations, Qu said.
He said the bureau will learn from the anti-corruption experience of foreign countries and would like to exchange information with international organizations and other countries.
A total of 97,260 officials were disciplined last year, more than 80 percent of who had failed to carry out duties, taken bribes, or violated the party's financial rules, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China.
Several high-profile officials fell in corruption scandals, including the former head of the food and drug administration and former party head of Shanghai.
(Xinhua News Agency September 13, 2007)